Day 20 - 7/21/07: Deadhorse, AK to Coldfoot, AK

Day 20 - Deadhorse to Coldfoot
Tour Group Drilling Site Halliburton - Prudhoe Bay National Forest
     
Rollogons Rollogons Worker's Camp
     
Sorting facility Me in the Arctic Ocean My Footprint on the Beach
     
Rocks on the Beach Rocks on the Beach The Arctic Ocean
     
Caribou at Deadhorse Caribou at Deadhorse
     
Auto Attendant at Tesoro Station in Deadhorse Deadhorse Tesoro Station
     
GPS Coordinates at Deadhorse GPS Map at Deadhorse
     
Welcome to Deadhorse Prudhoe Bay Post Office Coldfoot & Next Services 240 Miles Away
     
Leaving Deadhorse Hardpack Road - Leaving Deadhorse Pump Station 2
     
Almost Lost It Here Almost Lost It Here
     
Last Look at the North Slope
     
Pipeline
     
Atigun Valley Stitch
     
Above the Tree Line Looking at Rest Stop Above the Tree Line Looking at Rest Stop
     
Above the Tree Line Looking at Rest Stop
     
Bike Above the Tree Line Bike Above the Tree Line
     
Mountains South of the Tree Line Mountain South of the Tree Line
     
Middle Fork of the Kyukuk River Bridge Middle Fork of the Kyukuk River
     
Middle Fork of the Kyukuk River
     
Bike at Kyukuk River Bike at Kyukuk River

I set my alarm for 7:00 this morning. I got up, dressed, and headed for breakfast, which ended by 8:00. I had 2 pieces of French toast and a couple of milks as I did not want a repeat of yesterday with the upset stomach.

Then back to my room for a shower. I walked around the outside of the building to gauge how cold it was. The answer? Cold. The thermometer on the bike was showing 37 degrees. I went to my room, showered, and got dressed. Today I wore my thermal shirt and a long sleeve t-shirt. I packed and loaded up my stuff and headed for the Arctic Caribou Inn for the tour at 10:00.

While waiting I met an older couple with a Volkswagen van. Their fuel pump died and they had to be towed 145 miles into Deadhorse. They got to see lots of wildlife, caribou, dall sheep, and musk ox. However, because they were on a pull rope for the tow, all of their lights got smashed out by rocks. I also saw Jason there. He was trying to convince Scott to go on the tour.

The tour started late, but was well worth it. We drove by some drilling pads, workshops, housing, etc... It was all very cool. As we wound our way through the oil field we got ever closer to the Arctic Ocean. We drove past some sand dunes and a drill pad and we were there! It was very exciting. We got out of the bus and everyone was taking pics (there were 7 of us on the tour). The older gentleman with the VW actually took a dip, all the way under the water. I just took off my shoes and walked out a few feet. I had a hard time believing I was there, actually standing in the ocean. After all, I had been thinking about this for over 3 years. I picked up some souvenirs, rocks. I made sure to take pictures of them on the shore as proof of their arctic genuineness. I walked around barefoot for a few, but the rocks were hell on my feet. So I shoved my sandy feet in my boots. I took a few more pics, and then got on the bus. I cleaned up my feet and got my shoes and socks back on. There was not much wildlife to see on this tour. On the 8:00 tour they had seen a wolf. We only saw some birds and a couple of caribou.

After the tour I had lunch at the hotel. I had two sloppy joe's, rice, mac and cheese, and some milk. The food up here is excellent.

When the workers come up, the oil company pays for everything from Anchorage north. They pay for airfare, clothing, boarding, and all your food is included. The whole operation really reminds me of a military base. I found it quite fascinating.

After lunch I headed to the Tesoro station for some gas. Let me just say this is not your typical gas station. I spoke with Jason while Scott went in search of some friends. Afterwards they headed for the general store to shop. I did my shopping last night, so a few quick pics of the Deadhorse sign and I was gone.

I did have to get through the same 50 miles as before. And again there was only one really bad spot where I almost lost it. Only this time I really almost lost it. The ďalmost lost itĒ on the way up was like a party at Chuck E. Cheeseís compared to this one. Not only were the handlebars doing the complete wacky, but the rear of the bike was fishtailing around as well. How did I get into this mess? Well, I was riding at about 55 on the nice fresh hardpack. It was excellent. I saw up ahead that they had been working on the road. My lane (southbound) looked great, but the northbound side still needed work. When I got to the actual road work where my side was great and northbound was not, I found that my side was horrible. The road crews had actually just finished spreading out the dirt and gravel mixture for the hardpack, but had not yet compacted it. So it looked like fresh hardpack, but was actually loose gravel and dirt about 2 to 3 inches deep. I donít know how I saved the bike. I actually gave up and thought to myself, well, itís been a good ride, but this is where we get off. I got the bike to stop and took a few to get myself back together again. Then I got onto the northbound (oncoming) side of the road. While it needed work, at least it was nice and hard.

The weather was beautiful, but a little cold for me. In addition to my shirts I had on my heated vest, jacket liner, and my jacket. I also had my heated grips and seat turned on. After a while it warmed up and I could turn all the heated stuff off. Even Jason and Scott, fresh from Anchorage, admitted they were cold. They had made fun of me previously as I was always cold, but they thought the weather was awesome.

Right near Atigun pass it started to rain. It was just a sprinkle really, but it was enough to wet down the road. I took it real slow going up and down the mountain. I didnít see any other cars on the pass, so I used up as much of the road as I could. After Atigun pass I stopped at an overlook, then at the Kyukuck river.

When I got to Coldfoot I went to the visitorís center for a shirt. I got a shirt, a pin, and my Arctic Circle crossing certificate. Then across the road for a room and some dinner (eggs, hash browns, toast, reindeer sausage, and bacon, mmm mmmm good).

I kicked off to bed around midnight. The sun had gone down behind a hill, but it looked like it was around 5:00.

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